Friday, February 20, 2015

What happened to Oliver and Rust the blog......LOCALS CHECK THIS OUT


I know, what the hell happened over here. It's been like radio silence as of late. I haven't even had a chance to post about our winter upstairs hallway. Maybe tomorrow, hopefully before spring right?

So, now for the reason for this crazy bit of silence.
It is ABSOLUTELY OFFICIAL 

OLIVER AND RUST IS BECOMING A LOCAL STORE!!!!!

After slugging away and working at this for the last 3 plus years we are at the point of no return. We took possession of our space a week ago and have started the process of renovating. 

We will be located in Fonthill, Ontario on Highway 20. Exact location is being kept hush hush until we get a little further and have a exact grand opening date for you.

The cool part for all of you followers that have been on this ride with us from the beginning is I am going to share the whole process from start to finish.

Don't worry this blog is still going to based on our home and the changes we make but we will also be adding in the changes and seasonal fun of the store.


So with this information how about the before pictures of the space we are working with.
I love a good before and after and right now we are in the before and 24 hours into ownership photo sharing stage.
The previous tenants from a few years ago were a fan of mismatched colours. The walls are dusty rose, the window trim is sky blue and the carpet was black and white. Odd.






it's a big blank slate for pretty well anything we want. of course the ideas are all set and now we are just implementing them at this point. these photos were taken on our initial walk through. the heat was off and had been off for 2 years. our realtor and trevor were talking and shuffling to keep warm at this point.



the bathroom has wheelchair accessibility going for it but not much else on the personality factor. that has started to be rectified and i can't wait to share with you.


After the contemplation phase comes the action phase.


So now that you have seen the "BEFORE" photos lets move onto the first weekend status updates.


Our first "to tackle" project was the floor. We ripped the carpet out in 30 minutes to reveal a perfect concrete floor underneath....

covered in yellow carpet adhesive. 

I should have known that the carpet coming out so quickly meant that something was going to go wrong.

Off to Lowes we went to rent ourselves a floor sander. 
Lowes doesn't rent floor sanders, or any tools for that matter, oops.

Wander around and buy some of the things that we needed.
Drive to Home Depot and try to rent floor sander. 

Sander in stock but not the mastic remover attachment.

Drive to next Home Depot and successfully rent sander, and the attachment. Listen to the two "kids" working in the store try to explain the use of said sander and realize they really aren't quite sure how to use it themselves.

Drive back to the store and read instructions.

The sander we rented required water. We were prepared with watering can, shop vac.
We weren't prepared for the 4 inch clearance faucet that could not fill any kind of bucket or watering can with water.
We used the bottom of a toilet bowl brush holder to continuously add water over and over again.
NOTE: stress level climbing at this point.

Trevor started the sander and slammed right into the wall.
He looked at me with the what the hell did we get ourselves into face, and tried again and slammed into the wall.
You know those cartoons where the cat or skunk starts the floor sander and ends up spinning in circles and flies off into the wall.

THEY ARE EXACTLY RIGHT!

So once we kinda got started, we realized that the sanding was making A LOT of water and  mud that was getting everywhere and.....

oh shit we forgot the mops.

Off to Walmart in a fit of screaming. Both of us not just me.

We went to Walmart covered in concrete with red faces and barely speaking to one another because we were so panicked about the evil sander waiting to kill us back at the store.

We made it through 1/4 of the store that night and only had the sander for 1 more day.
We were exhausted and frustrated.
We did more research that night and decided to scrap the keeping plain concrete floors as getting all of the yellow glue off wasn't working. We didn't want to pay anyone to polish them and settled on a lovely industrial grade painted floor.
 We went back the next morning with fresh perspective and got into a fantastic rhythm and with the wonderful help of my mother in law we got the whole floor done.
No one got murdered by the sander or by a person.
We didn't flood our basement.
We blew a breaker but no big mishaps.


Trevor had gotten to the level of awesome by this point and was sanding like a pro. At least to me as I couldn't have held onto that thing. We also uninstalled the faucet so we could move it higher and be a smidgen quicker with water.



End of first weekend progress. 6 wash downs laters, a clean concrete floor and replaced mental sanity.
 I know these photos aren't all that pretty but it's the anticipation that counts right? You just wait, it's going to be awesome. It's awesome in my head and with only minor bumps I am bringing the awesome to you.
At least thats what I'm telling myself.


Have a great weekend all, I'll be getting my paint on.


Meg

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Etsy update


Whoa's she's at it twice in one day.

I don't often do the etsy updates here on the blog because I don't want to inundate all of you subscribers with tons of extra mail but this combo looks gorgeous together.

I was evidently continuing my blue theme from this morning lol




Meg

Rambling

Warning: rambling post about house and home and store without the influx of pretty new photos


Well it looks like it is going to be one of those days. My inspiration has been solely focused on store stuff as of late and therefore I haven't had too much to share on the home front. I got brackets in the mail for a great new shelf project but haven't dragged myself to the hardware store to get the wood yet so, on the counter they sit.
I think they call it the February blues.

Anyone else similarly afflicted? I love snow and the blanket of white outside, it is my lack of proximity to it at all times in the outdoors that depresses me I think. I am a serious outdoor person and spend most of my free time out there from spring to fall so in the winter with the -22 C temps that we see I can't stay out there to enjoy it, snow and all for any length of time and just get crabby. I recognize this problem as it is one I inherited directly from my dad. February is not a love month for us, we are snippy and short tempered and just need to be with nature. As my dad says, "I need to move to Arizona" that's his solution anyways.
I try to find safe non-snowplow non-ice covered hazardous places to go for short walks.

Last week was a huge first for me and my little business. I went to my first gift show! Ra Ra! You can conclude your own thoughts about why I would be needing to go to a gift show but it probably means exactly what you might be thinking. We are getting so very much closer to being a reality for locals. My lovely business partner of a husband even went with me. We have done this whole haul together and the giftware side of it is no different although he does fink out of things when the boring bookkeeping side of things needs work.



The show was amazing and eye opening in so many ways and also foot killing but that was to be expected. Many of the great companies that were there to show product would just not work in our area. I was cringing at some of the wholesale prices and that isn't a good sign for moving product in the Niagara Region.
I guess after eye opening prices my next thought when walking through the booths was how amazingly creative the companies and their booth stylists are and in that same respect how amazingly uncreative some shop owners are because the displays are copied right from the show. I guess if it ain't broke don't fix it but it was kind of disheartening to see. I suppose a good copy of inspiration is a sign of flattery though. 
I was hunting for unique product for our business as we are mostly a vintage and handmade company so we don't want to get too crazy with the giftware per season and a common problem I see in stores I have been in, is buying similar if not exact product available in big box stores i.e. Homesense, Marshall's etc and expecting to compete with those prices.
 I want to be different! 
(if that isn't the quote storyline to my life I don't know what is)
 I want people to come to me for that item they have been hunting for, for high quality pillows that aren't the mainstream, for that special gift for someone they spend time shopping for. I want people to come in and start to hum because they like the music, the smells and they want to stay awhile. It's lacking in our area a store like this. I had this conversation with a local body store owner around the holidays. She agreed we just don't have that store that you just want to stay in whether to sit and stay or to shop.

This little rant reminds me of a post I read last week on Apartment Therapy. Our store will be targeted at the people who in some way embrace this philosophy. 




The inspiration for the following words is actually based on books the author of this post is reading on french women and their lives and the simple pleasures to a healthy life. This is not to say only french women do this or have their lives organized, it is just based upon these books.

The author continues on to show how these philosophies from the books can be reflected in ones home in the statements below:


Take pleasure in what you eat: You may not be living in the house of your dreams, but there is beauty in every space. Enjoy and use your home and decorate it to support your life. Surround yourself with things you love and that make you happy. If you hate that chair from Great Aunt Sophie, out it goes. Even if it's worth a ton of money, living with something that doesn't make you happy is a psychic drain on your soul.
Eat everything — in season and of the best quality you can find — in moderation: Seek out the best pieces you can find. Use the good silverware, the nice towels, the expensive soap. Instead of ten sets of sheets from IKEA, what about two sets of really good linen sheets that get better and better with each wash?
Drink water: Weekly fresh flowers, using your kitchen to cook, daily cleaning, regular decluttering, open windows, beautiful candles, music, having people over — these are all things that hydrate your home with life.
Move a little every day: Whether it's changing up the pillows in the winter, replacing your old coffee table with a great find from the flea market or a new vase for those fresh flowers, your home needs movement. If you've changed nothing in your home in the past five years, it's probably time to think about a little freshening up. What if you moved the couch? Maybe it's time for a new rug?
Play to your strengths: True, my kitchen is dark, I don't have enough closet space, and let's not even talk about the challenges of not having a parking space, but my living room has a ginormous picture window and my bedroom gets the most amazing light. Even the smallest and most awkwardly shaped homes have a unique beauty about them. Instead of lamenting what it lacks, take the time to discover what's great about your home (hint: what do visitors always remark on?) and celebrate it.

I found myself nodding as I read the post and thought it just struck a chord with my train of thought lately. So many of us are looking to recreate another's booth, store or home because of the constant inspiration we encounter. While all of that is wonderful and good we still need to feel comfortable and love the space we are in because it is OURS above all else. Many people cannot live in my home. It has "stuff" or the worst of all words "knick knacks" I want to strangle the person that states I have knick knacks. There is nothing knicky or knacky about the collections Trevor and I have travelled the world to collect.
Even at the gift show, I found myself falling in love with a few items and getting very excited about them only to walk away and think. "but would I put that in my house?" Many of my customers currently come to me because of my ideas and taste and straying away from that uniqueness and being swayed by some lovely but impractical items will take away from that and stick me with unmoving stock that I don't want to take home.

In a wonderful string of events our bathroom was published in the before and after section of Apartment Therapy last week. I was excited and proud to be a part of what has become a leader in home design blogging.
The below photo is the after shot that was published.
I read the post, loved the way it was laid out and then cringed to myself as I read the comments. They don't really matter as I love my bathroom and my husband loves our bathroom and that is all that matters.  The person that suggested I drop a toaster in the tub should come on down and see what getting dropped looks like.




It never ceases to amaze me that the bravery of people who put their homes, their personal spaces into magazines and online because the rest of the world is set to pounce and kill. From the below photo most people deduced that I am destroying art, like creepy men staring at me and want to electrocute myself with a sconce. 
If you are one of those people out there wondering, I dust these shelves maybe 3 times a year. I have had them for a year now and have dusted them twice. They aren't gross or slimy, they aren't covered in cobwebs and the artwork still feels kind of elegant to me. I think some people must get an allergic reaction when they are suggested to need to dust with their obvious severe reaction to it through their computer keyboards. The gorgeous antique sconce I so painstaking picked out and chose cloth cord for is not dangling in the tub, gets plugged into a GFI and isn't usually on if I use the tub because I am dark person. It presents itself as more of a mood light for people to go in the bathroom and not have the ceiling light blasting them. The old cooters keep me company. 

I also think that we have gotten so used to seeing amazing spaces in all of these outlets we forget that not everyone has a money tree that grows in their backyard. Renovations are exactly that, a renovation. Those of you out there that have a toilet in a weird place or have a doorway that you would love to move but it's in a supporting wall. Work it in. Any space can be beautiful with creativity. Our taps on the bathtub were not in the best place when getting in and out but the original owners of our home put them there. It would have cost huge money to get a new tub to fit a new space and move the taps somewhere along the back wall so we worked with what we had and get in on the side of the tub instead. Small sacrifice I say.

Now on a final note, if you made it this far in the rambling. This next bit is for other store owners so feel free to skip: I need an opinion from you other store keepers. I have just fallen down the rabbit hole of POS vs cash register systems and there truly doesn't seem to be a system that suits me at all. All of the POS systems seem to enforce inventory which is a ridiculous notion in the vintage world. I price my vintage items as I bring them in the door. I keep all the receipts and know I am making the $$ I want. Having to enter an item into inventory only to never carry that item again seems silly. I really want to use a computer/ipad system with a cash drawer and printer but all of these setups require a pos system with a monthly fee. I would love to just have a cash register program, type in the item name and price tally it up and bada boom a receipt pops out. Kind of like the old school using paper method with a receipt pad but a swig of technology thrown in. Anyone aware of a program like that out there? Antique malls use something like this where they type in the item, dealer codes etc but that is a bit more that I need with only 1 vendor. Please feel free to pass along this post to your store owner friends if you think they have some information for me. I need it.
The cash registers themselves leave a lot to be desired look wise but the ease of just setting of the few departments I have is swaying me to that side and no additional cost per month.
Any of you have any suggestions?

Well everyone have a great day, and thanks for listening. Frankie was getting tired of hearing me.

Meg

Monday, February 2, 2015

Pinterest Inspiration: February 2015


Can it be that the first month of 2015 is already over?

Pinterest has lost the glitz and glamour of Christmas over the last month and returned to the room and decor inspiration place of the rest of the year (at least my feed anyways). I find myself consistently drawn to the black and white and natural rooms with the touch of quirk here and there.

Here's the most interesting finds from my feed this month.


seriously. i am not immune to the immense talent and charm of chip and joanna gaines. the first home of this season was my favourite of all of them so far. that lower shiplap....love love love. the antics of chip and joanna and their obvious adoration of one another whilst still coming across as regular couple with bickering makes this easily my only favourite show on hgtv.



that chair is from ikea. i'm just saying. stepping it up a notch.



a lovely retail kitchen



anyone have any wood lockers laying around. i could really use those right now.




black cupboards and yet this kitchen still looks bright and airy.



what a neat idea that i may just steal for my ever expanding pottage next year





so cozy, casual and rustic



black, white and quirk



what a great outdoor space. so simple and tidy. i love the look of the gold pea gravel in all spaces.



Have a great day everyone,


Meg

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Gluten Free Brownies that are awesome



Well hey there all. How has everyone been?
Lots going on behind the scenes here at Oliver and Rust. Hopefully some exciting news to report in the next little bit but for now mums the word.
Today I bring you my favourite kind of recipe. It is not terrible for you, ABSOLUTELY FULL OF FIBRE so it keeps you moving....... and tastes quite decadent.

As I have mentioned here before I have a bit of a gluten intolerance. Now being a bread lover that is like a hissy fit death sentence. (not a real one obviously as there are many bigger problems out there) but it does put a damper on my eating fun sometimes when the old stomach starts playing the cramping feel like you're having a child fun.

I have learned over the past 2 years what my body can and cannot tolerate and in what quantities for a peaceful existence.

This recipe today is completely gluten free and if you really wanted to push the envelope could easily be made sugar free as well. I enjoy recipes that are good for you but taste terrible for you. It is my kind of healthy eating. I don't want to feel like I am eating cardboard. These are the former. They taste like they are quite bad for you which I suppose could also get you into a lot of trouble.



The first time I made them was just for Trevor and I. He came in at the end of me preparing the recipe so he had already tried the batter and then saw the can of beans and did a roger rabbit eyes out of head move. Are there beans in the brownies?
Sort of.
The first platter of brownies didn't see the second day.

I made a second batch for a family dinner as I love trying these kinds of recipes out on regular food eating people especially my brother who prefers his food to be made in the original manner with gluten involved and no coconut oil substitutions for butter etc.

He even liked them, although stating "they have a Meaghan taste to them (which means he suspected me) but they are pretty good"
That's an A+ in my book.




I found the original recipe here.

If you were really just interested in the gluten free thing and not the low cal thing you could totally do these up with a pound of chocolate icing and no one would be the wiser really.
I left all the weight watchers information as calculated on the source page in case any one was interested in that.
I used coconut oil for the oil, and 1% milk instead of almond milk.
I also used a stand mixer to mix and then just an immersion blender to grind smooth instead of trying to scrape and clean my actual blender out afterwards.

Amazing Flour-less Brownies
Servings: 16 • Size: 1 brownie • Old Points: 3 pts • Points+: 4 pts
Calories: 144 • Fat: 5 g • Carb: 26 g • Fiber: 3 g • Protein: 4 g • Sugar: 17.5 g
Sodium: 150 mg • Cholesterol: 23 g


Ingredients:
  • 1 (14 oz) canned low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar (could use a substitute like Stevia)
  • 1/2 teaspoon oil (coconut oil)
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened almond milk (or dairy, skim)
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground coffee or instant coffee
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Grease a nonstick 9 x 9-inch square baking pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides.
Blend the black beans, eggs, cocoa powder, sugar, oil, almond milk, balsamic, baking soda, baking powder and coffee in the blender until smooth and pour into a bowl. Fold in 1/2 cup chocolate chips until combined.  Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan.  Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips evenly over the top of the brownies. 

Bake the brownies until a toothpick comes out clean, about 30 to 32 minutes.  Allow the brownies to cool completely before slicing them into squares.



Enjoy!


Meg

Monday, January 19, 2015

Spare Bedroom Reveal: The room that got painted twice

Yep, you read that right. I painted this room the week before Christmas. I bought the test pots of the colours I was considering, painted them on the walls in multiple spots and chose wisely. Right? Soo wrong! The colour I chose was Sherwin Williams First Star and it looked on the chip and test swatch like a light grey. It went on the walls, I did all the trim which had not yet been done in this room. I added all the stuff back in, fought with a DIY curtain rod from hell and holy crap the room was BLUE. SKY FRICKIN'BLUE!
My absolute least favourite colour decor wise. I shouldn't even say least favourite as it doesn't belong on a favourite list it belongs on the most disliked list instead.

I like it up in the sky where it belongs not on my walls. I'm sorry if you love light blue, we can still be friends just not on the same team lol. Goes to show you even us bloggers can totally screw it up sometimes. 

Well anyways, Christmas came and went so I couldn't pull the room apart again. I was making the effort to like it but it's like a scab once you pick it, it just keeps on driving you nuts. Family that wandered up there loved the colour but it just wasn't what I was looking for, she says ahem ..... obviously as you just ranted about it for the last 5 minutes.

Back to the drawing board. I stared at the chips in the white folder from Sherwin Williams but none of them were striking me. All were looking too yellow, too blue and quite frankly I was just not feeling it. I went and grabbed my Benjamin Moore chips and found my favourite chip set. The one with Baby Fawn, old faithful White Dove and settled on Dove Wing OC-18.

Warning this is a load of picture and a load of yapping post.


I had the people at the Sherwin Williams store colour match it as I am really loving the Sherwin Williams paint and wanted to continue using it.
Therefore welcome to our newest space. The spare bedroom and garden room. 



I made my own set of botanicals from plants I pressed back in October in one of our book presses. I found a fantastic vintage floral fabric at a thrift store a few months ago and paired it with my favourite black and linen ticking on the bed.


The gallery wall that was here has been dispersed and replaced with a huge window and my collection of antique shoe forms. I made the shelves with Trevor and painted them the exact same shade as the walls. (yes that means I painted them twice too lol)
The shelves were super simple; cut, glue and nail. These were good directions if you were looking to make your own.





As you can see, I have collected quite a few and up until these shelves were up, they were all over the house. They now have impact and they look great all together. I found another really rare one on etsy but I have been waiting over a month to receive it from a not so communicative seller that will remain nameless here but I am slightly irked at their customer service skills especially when I am also a seller and know the work and effort I put in to keep people happy.

The black and white photo on the top clipboard is a photo of my father in laws grandfather who was a shoe cobbler. Neat eh?



My little horticultural table of happiness. I have 5 orchids getting ready to bloom right now. My secret? Water and a cold house.
Seriously, I don't remember to fertilize them most of the time maybe twice a year. We keep our home cool and this room is farthest from the furnace. It stays cool at night and cool-warm during the day and gets great afternoon sun. Bada boom blooms!
The curtains here are Restoration Hardware baby & child black and white ticking on a diy electrical conduit rod with ends that were apart of the footboard of the new bed.




The first of the bloomers just started opening last week.



I found this book last week in an antique shop. The title and colour was a no brainer.



GNOME SPOTTING!




So I looked around for the way to properly label botanicals to no avail and actually found an etsy seller that had prints of her original botanicals. I used her description to make my labels. I tea stained the paper, added the plants all sourced from our yard with some glue and filled out the labels I made. I used simple clip frames as I wanted the plants to be the focus and not the frames. I originally bought 6 from Michael's but they discontinued their line so I picked up the rest at Hobby Lobby in the states.





Oh yes I did. A BRASS BED.
I sent Trevor to pick up this baby and he thought it was a win win because if I hated it, it was worth what we paid in scrap. I know horrors but.....
I loved it.



The duvet cover is Hudson's Bay caribou line from my parents for Christmas. I have had to wash it a few times and it just keeps getting softer and softer.



I found the old thread holder at an estate sale. It was still attached to the sewing desk in the basement where it had been for about 50 years. We had to blow off the lint and use a screwdriver to get it off but I wasn't leaving that house without it.







A closer look at the drapes and the neat burlap tiebacks I found at Hobby Lobby.




Oh and did you notice the fantasimo new old industrial light fixtures. Yup sent Trevor to pick that sucker up too. Good grief I took advantage of his good nature and his direct path by some of the people on Kijiji selling good junk. In all fairness he found these and showed them to me so that was the first mistake because he knew that I would love this light.




Hey you made it to the end.

Well what'd ya think. Are you a plant hoarder like me?

Thanks for visiting and as always

Have a great day,


Meg



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